With our prompt of airplane today, my mind drifted to the food you often find on long flights. Philippe and I travel to France to visit family and are served dinner within a couple hours after take-off. You usually have a choice of the main course, so we opt for vegetarian or chicken, since it seems the safest. Then you get a bunch of bonus items to complete your meal. Every little bit is wrapped, so it’s like unwrapping little gifts. Granted, the gifts you receive are often unrecognizable, but part of the fun is trying to figure out what you’ve actually been served. That little bit of dessert could be chocolate, or something with berries or a blend of both that defies description. Those bits of vegetables must certainly be carrots, but it’s anyone’s guess as to what the other bits surrounding it might actually be and tasting it doesn’t always answer the question. It reminds me of a school lunch as a kid so I find it a rather wonderful experience. The food is rarely fantastic, and some of it is slightly above edible since we can only afford Economy seating. But it’s such a wonderfully mysterious experience that I find it all quite intriguing and fun.
I worked with another Creative Director once from England who often made the commute across the pond. He told me that when crossing the pond you should simply have some water and go directly to sleep, skipping the meal entirely if you want to get on the correct schedule and feel good when you land. I know this is probably very sensible advice, but I love having my little weird meal and maybe even watching a movie afterwards. In truth, I can’t really sleep on planes. It’s far too upright and rigid, and since I’m not a horse, it simply makes no sense to me. While traveling to France, I’m usually on the second movie before I dose off briefly out of sheer exhaustion only to be awoken by the breakfast cart minutes later. By the time we land, I’m only being kept alive by hope and curiosity and and feel like I’m simply sleepwalking. It was in this very state years ago that I met Philippe’s mother for the first time who decided to meet us at the airport. I can’t possibly think I made a good first impression, but since I was far too catatonic to remember any of it clearly, I’ll just assume I did.
I simply can’t pass up that hot mess of a meal when I travel. For me, it’s all part of the experience and makes a rather long flight so much more enjoyable. Sitting still is not really my strong suit, which is why most of my doodlewashes are completed in less 40 minutes. About the length of a show without commercials. I’m then ready to move on to other little things and continue my incessant dabbling until it all fully exhausts me and I fall asleep. This is pretty much how I spend each and every day, so truly, a trip to Paris is rather just par for the course. And though I can find myself suddenly exhausted at the most inopportune moments, like meeting my future mother-in-law, it never stops me from forging ahead with giddy curiosity. I often feel like that little kid the night before Christmas each and every day. There are so many new things to do and discover. If you look around and notice things properly, it’s impossible to ever be truly bored. So while some may find this type of cuisine alarming, I’ll always have a soft spot for the joys of airline food.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Yellow Ochre, Leaf Green, Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!